You can transform plain fabric lampshades into visually interesting, decorative items using fabric paint. Simple patterns, designs and scenes painted onto the shades gain extra dimension when backlit by the lamp's bulb. The amount of detail you use is determined by your desire and your artistic inclinations. Whether you choose simplicity or an intricate treatment, this is a cost-effective way to refresh an old lamp and make it complementary to the decor in the rest of the room.
Sketch out a rough draft of the design or scene you want to paint using scrap paper and a pencil.
Use your rough draft as a reference to trace your desired design or scene onto the fabric lampshade with an auto-fade pen. This pen will not leave behind messy marks, like a marker or pencil would, and the lines disappear when touched by water or paint.
Paint the outline of the design on the lampshade first, using a thin paintbrush to keep the lines as clean as possible. The outlines should be done first to prevent the auto fade pen's marks from fading too quickly, should you need to take a break for any reason.
Fill in the spaces between lines with colours that match or complement your room's decor. Mix your paints according to the colour wheel (you can find one online) if you do not have the exact hues you want. Black can be added in moderation to darken a colour, while white can be used to lighten.
Allow the paint to dry completely according to the paint label instructions and install the shade on the lamp.